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Romans 12:2
Encouragement to fulfill God's purpose through Practical Life Application and Navigation

The Game of Gratefulness

I was SO annoyed!


The other day I was in the shower drying off. It’s getting chilly around these parts (no snickering please!), so I stayed IN the shower while I towel dried.


Legs dried….arms dried….body dried….hair wrapped in a towel. Voila! All done!


I was just about to step out of the shower when WHOOSH! A huge stream of water, left over from I don’t know where, gushed out of the shower spout onto my perfectly dried body.





It was SO ANNOYING! Irritating to the nth degree!


This has happened before but I’ve got a decent track record of dodging the delayed water explosion. On this occasion, however, I was just too slow. Or in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Man was I bugged!


Off the towel came from my head as I proceeded to dry off ALL OVER AGAIN.


Are you feeling my inconvenience? What a pain!


But as I was drying off, I thought of how many people live without fresh running water, and how these same people would probably be over-the-top thrilled for my irritating stream of ill-timed water. What If I was a missionary in a village without warm showers? I would likely thank my lucky stars for a few seconds of this wet, refreshing, energizing, cleansing goodness.


It’s all about the perspective, isn’t it folks?


This is a game I often play with myself.


When I throw away vegetables that still have some life left in them, I think about the impoverished people of the world who would thrive from what I consider to be ‘unsatisfactory’. Wow.


When I complain about the long wait in the checkout line, my car that’s freezing cold in the morning, the mounds of laundry yet to do, or the bathroom vanity which is ridiculously small and totally unworkable, I play my game and I am quickly put in check.


This works for me! I want to stay appreciative…and humble…and grateful. I don’t EVER want to take things for granted or forget how extraordinarily blessed I am. And I try to make the best of every situation, but since my human sin nature can sometimes override my desires, my little game comes to the rescue.


How about you?


Here are some other ‘moves’ from my game:


  • When I’m annoyed by vehicle maintenance, I remind myself at least I have a car to maintain.


  • When I’m annoyed by health tests needed, I remind myself at least I have access to premium health care.


  • When I’m annoyed that there’s ‘nothing to eat’ in the house, well, this gripe borders on SO RIDICULOUS that I stop myself pretty quickly… My ‘nothing to eat’ would last a small, starving country months.


  • When I’m annoyed at the cold ceramic tile under my feet, I remind myself at least I have a beautiful home and warm slippers.


  • When I’m annoyed that I forgot a key ingredient for a recipe and I have to make another trip to the store, which is all of three minutes away, I remind myself just how completely stupid my complaint sounds. (I rarely EVER use the word stupid, but it seems quite fitting in this case!)


  • When I’m annoyed that it’s time to clean the toilet once again, I remind myself how many people would be grateful to have a toilet to use – and clean.


  • When I’m annoyed by my husband (which DOES happen from time to time, even though he would disagree that he could EVER be annoying!), I remind myself how blessed I am to have such an amazing, smart, funny, handsome and healthy Christian man by my side. Our friend just lost his dear wife, completely unexpectedly, at just 48 years of age. WE are 48. My grateful game went into overtime last week and hasn’t stopped.


Sometimes it takes reminding ourselves of the alternative to be grateful for what we’ve got. Appreciating everything now is far more joyful than living with regret for a lack of appreciation later. The problem, though, is most of us have a moment of clarity, and then days, or sometimes even minutes later, the impact fades. Playing the game continually, with ALL THINGS big and small, will keep feelings of gratefulness front and center all the time, with no room allowed for fading or slipping back to an attitude that lacks gratitude.


[Tweet “Appreciating things now is more joyful than living with regret for a lack of appreciation later. “]


I think it’s particularly important to set your heart before the Christmas season, and then keep it in check periodically throughout. We could all find a zillion reasons to whine and grumble, but intentionally and consistently reminding ourselves the ‘reason for the season’ will keep all complaining at bay and Christ squarely in the center of this blessed and joyous occasion.


Play along with me and declutter ungratefulness forever!


And share this goodness with others, encouraging friends and family to do the same!


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